Belgium head coach Marc Wilmots and two goals hero in Saturday’s 3-0 thrashing of of Republic of Ireland Eomelu Lukaku have both expressed their delight at Belgium’s transformation in the ongoing Euro 2016 Championship.
Lukaku scores twice and as Belgium claimed a much-needed win on a day Witsel scored his first international goal since 2014 to send the Red Devils to second in Group E, with Ireland bottom.
Wilmots explained the tactical changes and selection decisions that helped Belgium win 3-0 against a Republic of Ireland side trying quickly to turn their focus to Italy on Wednesday.
“We analysed Ireland’s first game and chose a different strategy today. We knew if they played in a diamond we could push our full-backs up, so we chose to play short passes on the ground and that’s how we won.
“We spoke privately between the games; we knew the team wanted to give their all, they had to be mentally ready and that goes for the players on the bench too.
“The choice with Mousa Dembélé was simple. He keeps the ball well, and when we have Mousa and Axel Witsel playing, one of them needs to stay back. We did well in training and I wanted technical players today. It’s a shame he’s injured, he’s sprained his ankle, but I can’t say how he will be. I hope he’s OK.
“Unity is very important. We win and lose together. With Romelu Lukaku, we wanted to give him some confidence. I think he scored four goals in four matches but when he missed against Italy everyone was saying it’s all different. I just needed to explain things to him and make sure he knew I trusted him. He did what I expected today.” Wilmots told UEFA.com
Everton striker Lukaku who is now among the contenders for the top scorer gong had this to say after the game:
“I think we played well in attack and we played well in defence too. We did what we needed to do: we needed the three points and we got them, playing very well. And the result was also convincing. So we can only be positive.
“Italy are a very good team with a fantastic coach. That was a bit of a setback, but it woke us up for today’s match. Today everything we did on the ball was good, our defence was solid, and we forwards did what was expected of us. It was all positive. Now we have to make sure that we only grow during the tournament and keep playing better and better.” Lukaku stated